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"More capable lathe merry go round”.

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  • "More capable lathe merry go round”.

    Hi all

    I am presently on that “I need to upgrade to a little more capable lathe, merry go round”.
    I have been looking for some time. Good used machines that are close enough at hand to go have a look at are scarce.
    Distance and cross border hassle puts U.S. machines at a logistical disadvantage, so the Busy Bee option moves up the practicality scale.
    I would be interested in hearing from owners of the Busy Bee 10x18 and its relatives in the PM or Weise line.
    Has your lathe met your expectations and would you buy the same lathe again?
    If you could change something about the lathe what would be your change?
    Surfing about the net has yielded a bit of comment some good some bad.
    Some folks have indicated they chose the 10x18 over the more common 9x20 feeling it was a more robust lathe.
    Is that an accurate assessment? I apologise for all the questions but I have never seen one of these lathes in the flesh.
    The most appealing feature for me is the 1 inch spindle bore, which sets it apart from the rest of the 20 inch imports.
    My current lathe is a 7x12 mini… (The one every on loves to hate) it does pretty much everything I need to do. When it won’t; it is always the spindle bore that lets me down.
    I have no need or desire to own a much bigger lathe, which is too bad in a way, as there is available locally, a virtually new, very well tooled 12x36.
    Thanks in advance for you comments.

    Regards …Bert

  • #2
    I don't know much, yet...

    But I know this. If you have the room and the money for that 12x36, you will NOT regret getting that instead of a 10x whatever. I was going to get a Grizzly 10x22, ended up with an older, used Grizz 12x24. I'm really glad the new machine was back ordered and I'm impatient :-). More power, more weight, more features, in the world of turning metal into chips, that's all good. Later.



    • #3
      BB lathe

      For the very good BusyBee 10 x 18 BL lathe, see this discussion:


      • #4
        You are in Standard Modern country. There should be some ex high school or collage machines around. Fine machine but probably 3 phase. You might pay quite a bit more but it will last a lifetime and you don't have to rebuild it and wash the sand out of the headstock. Peter
        Last edited by Oldbrock; 01-20-2011, 12:09 AM.
        The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.


        • #5
          Hi again

          I hear what you guys are saying about heavier iron and I quite agree.
          Peter You suggestion about a high school machine deserves a comment.
          A couple of years ago a tradesmen friend of mine approached the local high school about the machines in the school shop.
          The machine shop program had been abandoned 10 years earlier and the equipment had fallen in to disrepair.
          Our plan was to see if we could perhaps buy a 2 of them. Negations began and the end result was the pair of us wound up volunteering and teaching a couple semesters of basic machine shop.
          We spent about 6 weeks getting the shop and machines in reasonable enough shape to do some teaching. We are now in our third year. We do one or two semesters a year with a group of 4-8 students.
          4 is the perfect number because we have four Colchester lathes, 2 student models and 2 2500 Masters
          The big plus for me, is the kids are fun and I have access to all the big iron I need...

          Regards …Bert


          • #6
            Great, fun isn't it passing on your knowledge to someone who wants to know. Peter
            The difficult done right away. the impossible takes a little time.


            • #7

              Bought one of the Busy Bee 10 x 18. Got it cleaned up, set up & did some minor chip-making b4 it got too cold.

              Biggest disappointment: got to be the poorest manual I have ever seen. Setting up the change gears as a result took a lot of fiddling & some guidance from the sales staff @ BB. Think I will have forgotten it by the time spring is here. Suggestions that this manual was going to be re-written by BB staff has so far not materialized. I gather the PM 1027 manual isn't any better.

              Got a dud motor. Store staff very helpful - supplied a new cap & finally a new motor from store stock. No waiting!

              Pluses: heavy lead screw (esp when cf to the 9 inch lathe); heavy frame - has a big chunk of metal mid-way along the bed. As I understand it, this was to mount a vertical mill head but this model was not - or is no longer - imported.


              • #8
                Bigger is always better, and if the 12 X 36 is within your budget, I would recommend a close look at it. Unless there are space constraints, it would be the best choice.

                There is nothing that a 9" or 10" can do that cannot be done just as well on the 13" machine, and very much more that the 13" machine is capable of. It seems that most of the 9" & 10" lathes have some thing that is limiting. In addition to rigidity, work envelope and power they can include lack of power cross feed, lack of back gear, limited number of threads, need for change gears, and the list grows.
                Jim H.


                • #9
                  This guy uses a Taig and a Busy Bee. He does some awesome work.



                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Oldbrock
                    You are in Standard Modern country. There should be some ex high school or collage machines around. Fine machine but probably 3 phase. You might pay quite a bit more but it will last a lifetime and you don't have to rebuild it and wash the sand out of the headstock. Peter
                    If you see where he is from Northern Ontario there are probably about as many people there as the Australian outback but without the cheery climate. Opportunity's to find used goods in any condition are very scarce.

                    Go as big as you can afford and have room for. Most of the import goods are either Hobby grade (very light) or Light industrial grade (not intended for heavy work). If you think a 9" will do get the 10" and if you want a 10" get the 12". These lathes don't have the mass like industrial machines do so you have to go bigger then you need to get a heavier machine which will let you use it the way you want.

                    I jumped from a 9 x 20 to a 13 x 40 lathe and the difference is unbelievable. Along with more mass, heavier, it is much more capable and ridged.
                    The shortest distance between two points is a circle of infinite diameter.

                    Bluewater Model Engineering Society at

                    Southwestern Ontario. Canada


                    • #11
             Has a bunch of old american iron for sale. They ship from Vermont.

                      I have a used Southbend 10K lathe and I love it. It came from a school shop when they updated. I love the look with the rounded corners etc.

                      The new SB 10K has a quick mount spindle and a bigger hole thru the spindle--that would be nice. More $ though.


                      • #12
                        One more thing to bear in mind, Grizzly now sells into Canada. Their 12-24 might be a good bet - much better than the BB 12-24.

                        As well, the one you mentioned does not have tumbler reverse.

                        Re used lathes, have you checked Kijiji ( ). There seems to be a lot of lathes that are not moving. Could be beaten up or asking too much. A wad of cash will do wonders though.



                        • #13
                          Originally posted by pgmrdan
                          This guy uses a Taig and a Busy Bee. He does some awesome work.

                          I just sold my Taig, but I can honestly say it was my favorite lathe. Will have to buy another one day when finances allow for it.


                          • #14
                            I've just started using a Colchester Bantam. I believe a Clausing is similar.

                            I wanted a bigger robust lathe with a metric gearbox and power feeds.

                            All's fine, but I thought I'd be selecting any pitch I wanted with the gearbox alone. Instead I find that I have to use one of three different sets of change wheels to get the full range of threads.

                            Now, they've made a gearbox with two levers, and each lever has three different positions. That's a good and complex gearbox. Why didn't they make an extra sub box with three ratios ? It's probably because with the change wheels I can set up for imperial too, but I still find it annoying.

                            So my advice is to check up how many threads the gearbox really does give you on its own without you having to mess with change wheels.
                            Richard - SW London, UK, EU.


                            • #15
                              How far "north" or"west" Ontario are we talking about?

                              +1 to ammcoman2's comment, unless there is a particular reason you are after said lathe, in my noob opinion, if you are within reasonable distance and have means, there are quite a few lathes, some of very high standards, though old/used/abused(?) within Ontario's borders (I do realize how large an area that is).